Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to file a late appeal, holding that the district court improperly considered irrelevant, outside the record information in deciding that Defendant’s testimony that he told his trial counsel he wanted to appeal was not credible. On appeal, Defendant asked the Supreme Court to reverse the district court’s decision and allow his appeal to be filed out of time, arguing that the trial court arbitrarily disregarded his testimony that he told his trial counsel that he wanted to appeal immediately, evidence that would help him meet an exception to the rule requiring timely appeal. The Supreme Court reversed without performing the particular analysis requested by Defendant, holding that two actions suggested bias or prejudice sufficient to corrode this Court’s confidence in the district court’s ruling that Defendant was not credible. The Court remanded the case to a different judge to make the credibility determination anew. View "State v. Smith" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of first-degree premeditated murder of his wife and his sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for fifty years, holding that there was no reversible error in the trial proceedings. Specifically, the Court held (1) Defendant did not appropriately object to the State’s attempt to rehabilitate a jailhouse informant’s credibility; (2) the district court did not err in admitting testimony from another witness who described Defendant as controlling of his wife; (3) the district court did not err in failing to instruct the jury on heat of passion voluntary manslaughter; and (4) no cumulative error occurred. View "State v. Campbell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court’s summary denial of Defendant’s motion to correct an illegal sentence under Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3504, holding that a motion to correct an illegal sentence cannot be used to collaterally attack a district court’s evidentiary finding that a defendant violated the terms and conditions of probation. In his motion, Defendant challenged the revocation of his probation more than sixteen years earlier, arguing (1) his probation revocation was illegal because no valid probation violation had been established, and (2) because the revocation of his probation was not authorized by the applicable statutory provision, Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3716, the resulting sentence was illegal. The district court summarily dismissed Defendant’s motion. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a probation violator cannot use section 22-3504 to collaterally attack the district court’s guilt determination at a probation violation hearing. View "State v. Horton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming Defendant’s conviction for driving under the influence (DUI), holding that the lower courts did not err when they concluded that Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3201(g) permitted the State to endorse a witness on the day of trial. On appeal from the decision of the court of appeals panel, Defendant argued that the panel erred when it affirmed the district court’s decision to allow the late endorsement of the witness at issue because Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3201(g) prohibits such a late endorsement. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) under the line of cases interpreting section 22-3201(g) and its predecessors, Defendant was required to object to the late endorsement of the witness and request a continuance to show reversible error on appeal; and (2) because Defendant did not request a continuance, the court of appeals correctly ruled in favor of the State. View "State v. Brosseit" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the sentence imposed upon Defendant following remand, holding that there was no reversible error in the trial court’s judgment. Defendant was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder, felony murder, and abuse of an infant victim. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction on appeal but remanded to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing. After a sentencing trial on remand, the jury sentenced Defendant to a minimum term of imprisonment of fifty years, to run consecutive with the sentence imposed for the other counts at the first trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) assuming, without deciding, that the admission of a witness’s transcribed testimony was erroneous, the error was harmless; and (2) there was sufficient evidence supported the jury’s conclusion that Defendant committed a felony that inflicted great bodily harm or disfigurement. View "State v. Lloyd" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court vacated Defendant’s sentence for involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence (DUI), a sentence that was based on a prior conviction in Wichita Municipal Court as a person felony, holding that a conviction under the Wichita DUI ordinance does not count as a prior DUI, scored in this case as a person felony, because it prohibits a broader range of conduct than state law. The court of appeals agreed with Defendant that the breadth of prohibited acts under the Wichita ordinance precluded Defendant’s conviction under the ordinance from being counted as a person felony under Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-6811(c)(2) and thus vacated Defendant’s sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed and remanded this case for resentencing, holding (1) the Wichita ordinance prohibits a broader range of conduct than that prohibited under Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1567; and (2) therefore, Defendant’s prior Wichita DUI should not have been included as a person felony in his criminal history score for purposes of sentencing on his conviction of involuntary manslaughter under Kan. Stat. 21-5405(a)(3). View "State v. Schrader" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court vacated defendant’s sentence for driving under the influence (DUI), which was based on two prior convictions in a Wichita Municipal Court, holding that a conviction based on the ordinance cannot be used to enhance a sentence for a DUI conviction under Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1567. As detailed in the Court’s decision in State v. Gensler, __ P.3d __, also decided this day, the Court held (1) a prior municipal DUI conviction under the Wichita ordinance in effect at the time of Defendant’s conviction does not count as a prior DUI under section 8-1567(i)(1) because the ordinance defines “vehicle” more broadly than the Kansas statute and therefore prohibits a broader range of conduct; and (2) the broader definition in the ordinance means that the ordinance does not prohibit the acts that section 8-1567 prohibits. View "State v. Fisher" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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As detailed in the Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Gensler, __ P.3d __, also decided this day, the Supreme Court held that a conviction based on a Wichita ordinance prohibiting operation of a vehicle under certain circumstances cannot be used to enhance a sentence for a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) under Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1567 because the Wichita ordinance prohibits a broader range of conduct than the Kansas statute. Defendant’s sentence for DUI was based on two prior convictions for DUI, one of which was a Wichita Municipal Court conviction. The Supreme Court vacated Defendant’s sentence and remanded the case to the district court for resentencing, holding (1) Gensler was dispositive in this case and compelled a decision in Defendant’s favor; and (2) Defendant’s Wichita municipal DUI could not be used for sentencing purposes for his current DUI prosecuted under section 8-1567. View "State v. Mears" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court held that the invited-error doctrine does not automatically apply every time a party requests a jury instruction at trial but them claims on appeal that the district court erred by giving it. Rather, appellate courts must engage in a probing analysis of the specific facts of the case to determine whether the complaining party actually invited the error. Defendant was convicted of aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in instructing the jury on aggravated robbery. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that Defendant had not preserved the issue because he invited the error. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that invited error precluded this Court’s review of Defendant’s alleged jury instruction error on the facts. View "State v. Fleming" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court vacated Defendant’s sentence for driving under the influence (DUI), which was based on two prior convictions for DUI, holding that the sentencing provisions of Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1567(i)(1) that define “conviction” did not cover Defendant’s previous convictions under a Wichita municipal ordinance. Defendant was twice convicted of DUI under the Wichita municipal ordinance. On appeal, Defendant argued that the Wichita DUIs could not be used to enhance his current DUI sentence because that Wichita ordinance prohibited a broader range of conduct than Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1567 prohibited. The Supreme Court agreed and remanded this case to the district court for resentencing, holding (1) the elements of the Wichita ordinance are not the same as, or narrower than, the elements of the Kansas statute; and (2) therefore, Defendant’s convictions under the ordinance could not be used as prior DUIs for purposes of this DUI prosecution under section 8-1567. View "State v. Gensler" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law